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GARRISON, Minnesota – Feb. 22 – Fishing for Ducks Ice Fishing Contest, the largest attended Ducks Unlimited (DU) event in the nation, drew a record 5,000 men, women and kids for a successful day of ice fishing on Mille Lacs Lake on Feb. 17.
Fishing for Ducks began 14 years ago when local Ducks Unlimited volunteers wanted to create an event to support waterfowl and wetland conservation. The town of Garrison, population of less than 200, grows exponentially for the day when participants descend on the lake.
This year’s event was supported by more than 200 Ducks Unlimited volunteers and featured numerous raffles and more than $100,000 in prizes. Wood duck houses were given to youth and prizes were awarded for the top 100 largest fish. Fishing for Ducks includes a pre-event party Friday evening.
“It’s the biggest population on the lake all season,” said Greg Erickson, DU volunteer and event chairman. “It’s a big Ducks Unlimited banquet with ice fishing thrown in.”
Dollars raised benefit DU’s wetland conservation mission. Wetland habitats are crucial for the health of Mille Lacs Lake and other lakes in Minnesota. More wetlands mean better fishing and waterfowling, and Erickson said the event has attracted new outdoors enthusiasts to both sports.
“We’ve introduced lots of ice fishermen to DU,” he said. “But we have DU people call us and explain that they want to try this ice fishing thing, so we’re introducing Ducks Unlimited people to ice fishing too.”
The event was presented in partnership with Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.